Trump vs American media: The scene from another angle

Dr. Naif Alhadari
Dr. Naif Alhadari
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The fierce confrontation between American media and president Trump, is an unprecedented phenomenon in American modern history, with the clashes between the president and the media taking front page news even in international media these days, especially in the aftermath of president Trump's news conference in the White House which saw a strong verbal altercation between the president and a reporter of CNN (Jim Acosta) followed by Acosta being banned from the White House and his pass withdrawn. Then matters became more complicated when a court in Washington, the past few days, ordered the White House to reinstate Jim Acosta, a kind of victory for the media in its face-off with Trump.

There is no doubt that the scene of hostility between Trump and American press brings back memories of the enmity and confrontation that was there, between former president (Franklin Roosevelt) and the American press in the thirties and beginning of the forties of the last century. The common thing between the two presidents (Roosevelt and Trump) is that both were victorious in their confrontation against the press, Roosevelt in the 1940 elections in spite of a ferocious attack on him in newspapers, and Trump in the 2016 elections, in spite of the enormous media support for Hillary Clinton. Another thing linking the two – and is of special interest to us interested in political media – is that both presidents used an "alternative media" in his confrontation, Roosevelt used the "radio" as he delivered his messages to the nation through his own program which he himself presented, called " Fireside chats" and gained the admiration and trust of the American citizen. Meanwhile, Trump used "Twitter" as his alternative media to face American media, and was able to send a direct message to the American citizen.

The victory of Trump in the 2016 elections, in spite of the enmity of the media towards him, raises a question regarding the effect liberal media in America has on the ordinary American, and whether there is a trust crisis between Americans and their media, leading to the credibility of this media witnessing a relapse in recent years. On the other hand, the media in America is attempting, in its fight with the president, to play on the sensitive string of "press freedom" and is trying to prove that their battle with trump is for the sake of the most important article of the American constitution, the article relating to press freedom and matters related to that. Another fact worthy of not overlooking, is that there are hot issues of the Trump years, such as investigations carried out by "Muller" regarding Russia's interference in the elections of 2016, something the American media has been using to make the confrontation take on a stronger edge.

Does this whole media campaign against Trump have to do with defending the freedom of press, and freedom of speech and critique in American media? Or are there other reasons, to do with gains that certain companies and lobbies might obtain, besides special interests of certain money moguls who have stake in major media corporations.

Dr. Naif Alhadari

The partisan of the liberal press was obvious during the last presidential race, where there was obvious biased against Trump. Approximately 200 American newspapers supported Hillary Clinton, while Trump got the support of only two papers amongst the 100 most circulated in America. Also the New York Times, and some other papers, had done opinion polls before the elections by days, in which it predicted a landslide victory for Trump. From his side Trump had cleverly used this, to remind the public every time of the failure of these newspapers to predict properly, or to spread the truth.

In its battle with Trump, the media in the US has attempted to use tactics and theories of "effect" in its campaign to apply pressure. For example the "conditioned reflex" theory of Pavlov the Russian scientist, where they have tried to connect the midterm elections of Congress in November, with the impeachment of Trump, if it is established that there was possible collusion in the Russian interference in the presidential elections. All of this to influence public opinion, as well as Congressional elections!

Media war against Trump

In reality, the war against Trump in most major American newspapers, make us - the neutrals – want to know the reasons for this, and look at it from another perspective. In other words, does this whole campaign have to do with defending the freedom of press, and freedom of speech and critique in American media? Or are there other reasons, to do with gains that certain companies and lobbies might obtain, besides special interests of certain money moguls who have stake in major media corporations. For instance, there is animosity between Trump and the owner of the Washington Post, millionaire Jeff Bezos who also owns Amazon, and had previously been accused by Trump of using Amazon –and selling via internet– to destroy major American private companies in the retail sector. This allows for a different explanation for this paper –The Washington Post- publishing negative news of the president, all the time.

Thus, we may wonder: does American media still enjoy any level of credibility with the ordinary American?

And has the ordinary American reached a certain conviction regarding his media, a media that is dribbling after hype, fun and profit, and regarding a liberal media that only cares about the elite, their interests and the interests of their companies and their parties?

In one of his tweets, President Trump says:

"The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!"

Finally, the confrontation between Trump and the media is a clash between a president who has been attacked like no president before, from his own countrymen, a president who has spoken like no president before, about (media manipulation, fake news, and the bias of the major media corporations). We may summarize the scene very plainly, as follows: two contestants, the first won the initial round with a knock out (the 2016 elections) and surprised the public with his victory, while the second contestant is trying to cast doubt over this victory by stirring and creating everything it can put its hands on, to affect the morale of its opponent before the next round (the 2020 elections).


Dr. Naif Alhadari is a Saudi writer, researcher and media advisor. He has worked for several prominent Saudi media outlets.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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